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When Hearts Fly

Help Wanted Series

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 32,790
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Mobi

Cordy Meeker can't wait to sell her Paradise, Nebraska, inn and move to the mountains of Colorado. All she wants is a cowboy to call her own. But her late twin has gotten her in trouble at the bank. She needs a moneymaking scheme and fast. When she falls into Hawk Shockley's arms, she believes her troubles are over.

The second son of a British nobleman, Hawk finds himself broke and alone in Paradise on his way to his family's Colorado holdings. He guards his heart against the beautiful innkeeper—women have gotten him into fixes before—but needs quick money, too. He posts a Help Wanted advertisement seeking riders to pay to prove horses can fly. But can he resist Cordy while the two of them pull off the impossible?

Anything can happen in Paradise.

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Excerpt

She tightened the shawl so she didn’t scream. But cry, never that. No man would ever make her cry again. Not even the foolish banker. Never. Not after Lambert Truefitt. In some way, she would outwit Mr. Pelikan and his ilk. True, she hadn’t had a guest for weeks. True, her Sunday chicken dinners were wildly popular. But also true, locals hurried home after church before it snowed again.

So bills had mounted. She and Duchess had to eat. The mercantile allowed her to pay down her debt of nine dollars and twenty cents two bits at a time.

Clancy. She clenched her fists. A trudge to the cemetery would be muddy, but the urge to kick his headstone wouldn’t be stifled. Finally, anger outranked grief, relief, and guilt. On her way to the tiny vestibule where she kept her rubber boots, the little counter bell clanged. But she didn’t hurry. With her present luck, it would be Sheriff Pelton arresting her on behalf of her felonious brother, and she couldn’t afford bail. Finally she called out on the fourth ring.

“I’ll be right with you.” Then she tripped on a boot, stumbled, flailed.

And landed in the arms of a man just in time to break her fall. His warmth scented from the outdoors snuggled around her. Cordy managed to toss her arms around his neck. He held her panting form against his mighty chest.

Then her breath stopped. The sight of him heated her blood. Here he was, as if stepping out from a dream. Her Wild West cowboy, with his Stetson and scruffy cheeks and lake-blue eyes she wanted to drown in.

“Are you all right?” His voice rumbled from his chest to her ear. A drawl mixed with someplace else.

“Yes.” She saddened when he broke contact and set her down. He kept hold of her hand, and she practically fell in love on the spot. “I’m fine. Thank you.”

“I am Keaton Shockley.” He touched his brim and removed his Stetson. Weather and leather ruffled his rugged coffee-brown hair. “And I’d like to let a room. I must find C. Meeker, proprietor.”

Her heart flipped inside of itself. Not only a paying customer, but also a handsome one. Oh, and how magnificently that duster tightened around his shoulder muscles when he moved.

“You have found her. I’m Miss Cordelia Meeker. Welcome to my inn.” She held out her hand. Adding the Miss risked her appearing a stuffy spinster, but it was a surefire way to inform him she was unmarried. “But do call me Cordy.” There.

“Do call me Hawk.”

“Hawk?” Oh, so…cowboy!

She sparked to her toes when they touched. He raised the hand he held, slowly, and then placed it against his warm lips. “Keaton supposedly means where hawks fly.”